How Much Water Can an Elephant Hold in Its Trunk?

elephant
An elephant sprays water with his trunk. Donovan van Staden/Shutterstock

Fill 'er up!

An average elephant can usually hold around a quarter of a gallon, however, studies have shown that bull elephants can hold as much as 2.5 gallons!

So why do they need to hold water in their trunk at all? Contrary to popular myth, elephants don't drink through their trunks. They suck water up and then lift it to their mouths to drink. They also use the water to spray over themselves both to cool off and to shower.

Not only is the trunk an essential part of drinking and bathing, but it is also used by elephants for an incredible range of tasks, from feeding to vocalizing to showing affection to exploring new objects. To an elephant, a trunk is as important as hands and arms are to a human.